Thoughts

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JazzDad

Gandy Dancer
From time-to-time, I may post one of the questions that have plagued me since entering the hobby.

Today's thought: Where do you find a prototype backdrop?
 

TLOC

Well-Known Member
The best way at the moment for me is to go out and take the photos of the area I want and use them.

I believe I have looked at every commercial backdrop online and have not found one that fits what I want. I want a scene without mountains, no coal fire power plants, no falling down brick warehouses but with a modern industry pictured so I can put it behind my Paper Mill.

Good luck in your search
TomO
 

TLOC

Well-Known Member
Thanks Greg. Yes, Ihave looked at Trackside Scenery backdrops. I have emailed and even talked to Joey on the phone. He can customize but he is even more expensive then some of the other great backdrop guys.

TomO
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
This is just me, but I have found photographic backdrops getting in the way. They command too much attention, but not in a good way. The problem is that the apparent lie of the land doesn’t match up with the layout’s next to it, and the abrupt shift takes place along the back of the benchwork. Layout flat, backdrop forest tilted. Blechh!!

To me, and just like the fascia closet to you, backdrops are fillers, not part of the rail experience or of the track system itself. But, having said that, I have seem amazingly well done images, with the camera lens set properly low (head height in HO) and an entirely convincing background imparted by a carefully chosen, and well mounted, photographic backdrop. It can be done, but generally isn’t.

Look for images of expanses where the guy didn’t scramble up a knoll to get a better view. You want some trees in the way, little rising ground as the distance from the camera increases, and no ladders or hilltops under the camera. The far hills and buildings are great, just not at the top of a banked field with a canted river.
 
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Rico

BN Modeller
My favourite backgrounds are the ones painted on where everything matches up with the layout. You know, roads, hills, tree lines etc.
Oh, and Toot... what do you mean by “again”? 😆
 

McLeod

Sprue-n-Glue Victim
Let me clarify: Just how big would a prototype backdrop be, and how could one roll it up for shipping?
Now I'm more confused than I was after you're first post!

I believe this fellow found a way to make a prototype backdrop:
Artist1.jpg
 

chadbag

Well-Known Member
It all depends on what you want the backdrop to be.

I wanted a backdrop for my temporary layout that I could use to take pictures. Since most of my trains are from Japan, I went looking for Japan landscape scenes. I found one that I blew up to around 8-10ft wide, printed it (in pieces), cut them out and taped it together. It is obviously home made, but when put on the side of the table, with relevant tracks, building, etc. it looks fine. The main job is to make you not see the tables and bookcases and house walls in the background.

A little blurry, since it is supposedly "far away" works fine. Tends to not draw your eye to it when like that. Too photo realistic and it could be a distraction. This is why the painted ones work well for some people.

Look online for public domain* landscape photos and if you want it printed professionally, Fedex Office and similar probably can do it for you on a continuous piece of paper.

* anything you leave in your home and do not show in public is probably fine, whether "public domain" or not, but use your best judgement and IANALAIDPOOTV
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
If you would like to see superior handcrafted backdrops painted by a master, google “Michael Cawdrey train photos.” Let his work speak for itself. What you see behind the locomotive is a backdrop.
 
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tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
My favourite backgrounds are the ones painted on where everything matches up with the layout. You know, roads, hills, tree lines etc.
Oh, and Toot... what do you mean by “again”? 😆
Oh dear, now it's my backside's that smarts.
 
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